Heian Kento 1200: Ordinances and the “conservation, revitalization, creation”
Earlier in the decade, “Heian Kento 1200” directly caused negative effects on making tradition-preserve ordinances.
Years before the event, the limitation of construction height had been largely alleviated. Kyoto City passed an ordinance introducing the “comprehensive design system”, which offers height bonus, and set the new height limit for such buildings at 60m, exceeding the usual limitation. This ordinance was meant to pave way for constructions for the 1200th anniversary in 1994. It was soon faced with strong protest, which more or less influenced the policy-making procedure.
In the 1990s, what Kyoto officials repeated the most was their catchphrase “Preservation for the north, revitalization for the centre, creativity for the south”. This is the theme running through the whole decade, guiding city landscape development for the future. Firstly, “Council for Kyoto City Development on Measures for Land Use and Landscape” of Kyoto City was set up in 1991, after the constructions of “Heian-Kento 1200 project” caused a lot of controversial problems focusing especially on their heights. According to their first report submitted in 1991, the theme “conservation, revitalization and creation” divide Kyoto into three regions :
- “Natural and Historical Landscape Conservation Region” in the north and three mountainous areas;
- “Harmonized Downtown Revitalization Regions” in the central area;
- “New Urban Function Concentration Region” on the south.
The second report in 1992 was focusing more on specific measures and visual effects of Kyoto landscape, including reinforcing regulation on large buildings and outdoor advertisements. Besides, the regulations also aiming at protecting another “important cultural property” of Kyoto- the scenic mountain view from the downtown area.
“Ordinance for the Conservation of Natural Landscape” was enacted in 1995, aiming at “maintaining the characteristics of the old urban area which existed before the war”. Before it was established, Kyoto had already been characterized by different aesthetic districts, such as Conservation and Adjustment Districts, Community Landscape Development Districts, each of them dealing with different challenges and objectives.
The officials’ focus was not on making rule itself, but rather on expanding the dialogue between different social groups: officials, local residents, organizations… The founding of Kyoto Workshop, a semi-governmental center for town-scape and urban revitalization, shows a good example of civic cooperation. Later, Districts and regions were further divided into smaller categories, intended to encourage community development, and find out characteristics of every different category. This system vitalized local communities and districts as units of landscape development, in addition, encouraging “local activities including Urban Landscape Agreement and a subsidy to the groups of people working on community development”. Its effect was plainly embodied in the protection of Kyo-machiya houses on which would be expanded in other posts.
These ordinances did alleviate the situation, however, its moderate effect still failed to stop the damage of old Kyoto landscape, which would be elaborated in other posts. It finally became a catalyst for the strict landscape policy and height restriction pushed through in the first decade of the 21st century, and made what Kyoto is today.
 Brumann, Christoph. Tradition, democracy and the townscape of Kyoto: claiming a right to the past. London: Routledge, 2013. 59-67.
 Kyoto City Official. The Landscape of Kyoto. Accessed December 13, 2017. Retrieved from:http://www.city.kyoto.lg.jp/tokei/cmsfiles/contents/0000057/57538/2shou.pdf.
Fiévé, Nicolas, and Paul Waley. Japanese capitals in historical perspective: place, power and memory in Kyoto, Edo and Tokyo. London: Routledge, 2013.